Diseases

Osteoarthritis of the knee: treatments

They are numerous ... and not only medicated, even if they are often taken first.

> Medications.
These drugs are simple analgesics, such as paracetamol (the effectiveness of this drug is partly questioned when it is taken over a long period). Another category of treatments: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). They are often prescribed for osteoarthritis of the knee (especially in cases of inflammatory disease), but be careful not to take too long, especially in the elderly (these drugs are at risk for the stomach). Note that there are analgesics of other categories, more powerful if necessary.

Another family of drugs: symptomatic anti-osteoarthritis of slow action (AASAL). They would have a protective effect against cartilage. The possible improvement can only be judged after several weeks or months of treatment. But according to the High Authority of Health, these drugs would have a rather relative efficiency. Since March 2015, they are no longer reimbursed by the Health Insurance. However, they remain fairly prescribed and advised by rheumatologists.

Infiltrations of certain drugs in the knee may also be proposed. Thus, the doctor can practice infiltrations of corticosteroids (cortisone), or hyaluronic acid. The use of this latter substance for the treatment of osteoarthritis is relatively recent. Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance, normally present in the body. It has been used for many years in aesthetic medicine, and now in rheumatology.

Three to five injections of hyaluronic acid into the knee are typically given one week apart. The effects are quite positive in case of osteoarthritis of the knee.

> Other treatments ...
Rehabilitation care may also have analgesic action. Exercises on certain muscles will aim to better "work" the knee. Sometimes, adding a sole to a shoe may be necessary.

Among other treatments: a spa treatment, but also thalassotherapy can provide real relief.

For overweight people, it is also important to lose weight to relieve the painful joint.

Patients are also turning to homeopathy, herbal medicine, or acupuncture for its effects against pain

> Surgery
Surgical operation is considered when, for example, there is an axis defect of the lower limb (in the case of arched legs, for example). The knee suffers because of higher stresses on part of the joint. The procedure then involves a leg bone to correct its axis (osteotomy). It is an orthopedic surgeon who will perform this procedure.

When treatments are not effective enough to relieve the patient and when joint wear is important, a knee prosthesis may be necessary. This prosthesis can be partial or total. It should be noted that the surgical techniques and prostheses used have made significant progress in recent years. In France, each year, nearly 40, 000 knee prostheses are placed.

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